Continued from page 1

One media activist group, Freedom Against Censorship in Thailand, has had access to its website (facthai.wordpress.com) blocked from within Thailand.

Thousands of other websites also reportedly have been censored without explanation, except a notice appearing on users’ screens in Thai and English:

“An access to such information has been temporarily ceased due to the order of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) under the authority of emergency decree.”

Pro-Red radio, TV and print publications also are restricted.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva told the BBC that the ban is necessary because the Reds’ media have “been involved in incitement of violence. That’s not something I think the country can afford.”

Previously the Reds’ extensive media network published graphic scenes of troops shooting protesters, bloody documentation of dead and injured victims, and strident speeches by demonstrators, Red leaders and Thaksin, plus rumors maligning the government.

“We need to restore order. The last thing we need now is a repeat of violence or clashes,” Mr. Abhisit said, justifying the extension of the state of emergency.

Each day, the government defends its state of emergency by insisting that the Reds remain a threat.

For example, the Reds’ UDD allegedly ran three weapons-training camps in the countryside, which have now been identified, Mr. Abhisit’s Democrat Party spokesman, Tepthai Senpong, said Wednesday.

The camps were said to be in isolated hills, accessible by narrow dirt trails, including along the Thai-Burmese border, where the Reds reportedly received help from Burma’s minority ethnic Karen Christian guerrillas.

“I think the information we have is enough for the authorities to follow up,” Mr. Tepthai said.

It is difficult to know how many people have been detained, because some have “disappeared” either into jail or on the run, but the Reds estimate that more than 200 are behind bars while others are being hunted.

Court cases eventually will be filed against those who can be indicted, the government said, though that process is expected to be slow, especially in cases where officials want to press terrorism charges and need evidence to support prosecution.

The military’s recently created Center for Resolution of the Emergency Situation said Thailand was “unstable” because a “distortion of facts and information continues, and missing weapons have not been returned to security agencies” after some Reds seized guns and ammunition during street clashes.

The government said most Red protesters were peaceful, but a mysterious, unidentified group used weapons against the military and staged arson attacks during the siege, possibly duping naive Reds and using them as a front during an attempted violent power grab.

Story Continues →